Thursday, December 21, 2006


I really got into "Dexter," the new series on Showtime that just ended its first season. Not a typical show for me, as it's about a serial killer, and I'm all about skipping anything that promises to be too violent. But it is a smart show, with a great cast (who knew that milquetoast David Fischer of "Six Feet Under" could be so menacing, and so... hot?) and a riveting mystery. It had enough complexity that I didn't see the answers coming right away, but still was able to figure it out (some of it) and gain some pleasure at my own ingenuity.

Michael C. Hall plays Dexter, a blood splatter specialist with the Miami PD. Unlike those other forensic procedural shows, he isn't surrounded by a bunch of incompetent nothings who allow him to do their jobs as well (my biggest complaint about the CSI franchise.) He sticks to, well, blood, offering his expertise when required and letting the detectives (including his sister) solve the crimes. That is, when he isn't using non-approved means to find those that escape the law, and then exacting his own secret revenge. It's not 100% believable that he gets away with it, but who better to leave a pristine crime scene than a forensics expert? And there is at least one detective who suspects he has a dark side.

There is, of course, a lot of blood. Oddly enough, though, the one bit I can't watch comes during the opening credits, during a montage of Dexter getting ready for work in the morning. It's a wonderful series of close up moments, sizzling with sound and sensation: a razor blade sliding along a cheek, an egg dropping into a pan, a piece of ham being sliced, the sound of a lace poking through a shoe's eyelets. And yet, I have to turn my head when a piece of dental floss twists around Dexter's finger and he raises his hand toward his mouth. That I can't watch.

Can't wait for next season.

Oh, in contrast, I tried watching "Monk" once. Just once. I was appalled by how stupid the
"mystery" was - about as difficult to figure out as one of the old "Murder She Wrote" episodes. And the away that he came to "solve" it was preposterous. It insulted my intelligence so badly I have not been able to attempt another episode. I think the draw of the show must be in the quirkiness of the character, but hey, Dexter is quirky (albeit in a darker way - did I mention that he collects and saves a drop of blood from each of his victims?) and still manages to be involved in smart mysteries.


Blogger Jeri said...

I'm a fan of both DEXTER and MONK. Monk is more unevenly written, and it's greatest pitfall is the weakness of some of the mysteries. But there is some outright comedy in it, at times, that is hilarious. I think it's better than MSW, but it is clearly a "cozy."

DEXTER, of course, is in a class by itself: superior to just about anything that has been on the air in the last few years. I am also amazed that I could enjoy a show about a serial killer, but--in spite of guessing most of the contents of the last two episodes--I really enjoyed it, especially for its "humanity."

6:20 AM  
Blogger medusa said...

What I liked about figuring out the last two episodes was that I didn't figure them out in the pilot, or halfway through the season, but just an episode or so before the mysteries were revealed. But more, I think, because I figured them out based on subtle intelligent clues, not because of over-the-top acting ("Look at me! I'm secretly the villian!") or blatant editing (suddenly dark music when a character appears on screen doing something normal.)

6:29 AM  

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